Cost Sharing

Cost sharing occurs when any portion of the total cost of a sponsored project is paid for by Princeton or a third party rather than the sponsor. Cost sharing can include the following:

  • Actual cash outlays for items and/or services (travel costs, salaries, materials and supplies, equipment)
  • In-kind non-cash contributions with a direct benefit to the project of which the value can be readily determined and justified

Cost Sharing Procedures

Mandatory vs. Voluntary Cost Sharing

In general, cost sharing arrangements will fall into one of the following categories:

  • Mandatory: Mandatory cost sharing is required by the sponsor, in writing, as a condition of receiving an award.  
  • Voluntary Committed: Voluntary committed cost sharing is when items are quantified in the proposal without any sponsor requirement. This type of cost sharing requires DFR approval prior to proposal submission.
  • Voluntary Uncommitted: Costs borne by Princeton but not detailed in the proposal or award budget, and not in response to a sponsor requirement.
Proposal Stage

Cost sharing should be accounted for in a proposal as follows:

Voluntary Committed

  • An Ancillary Review is submitted to the ORPA Director in Princeton ERA.
  • If approved, the PI and department follow the steps below for mandatory cost sharing.


  • The Department uploads the RFP with the mandatory cost sharing language included into Princeton ERA.
  • The PI creates a cost sharing plan.
  • Department completes the Cost Sharing Commitment Activity in Princeton ERA.
  • For Provost, DFR, or third party in-kind support, or subrecipient sources, the department obtains cost sharing commitment approvals. 
  • Department uploads cost sharing approvals into into Princeton ERA.
  • Department enters cost sharing budget in Princeton ERA.

Please refer to the Cost Sharing Quick Guide or Detailed Guide for more information.

Award Stage

The following should be considered at the award stage:

  • If the cost sharing commitment changed between the proposal and award stages, department updates the Princeton ERA through the JIT activity.
  • Department fills out the cost sharing budget form for the length of the entire award, regardless of how the sponsor funds the award, and submits the form to ORPA.
  • ORPA sets up the award, including the cost sharing commitment, and cost sharing budget, in Prime.
  • ORPA distributes the Notice of Award (NOA) to the department, SRA, and the PI.
  • Receipt of the NOA is the trigger for the department to move department funds via Assignment Journal (exceptions: AR tuition and faculty AY salary and F & A).  
  • ORPA initiates Assignment Journals for Provost or DFR funding.
  • Department charges cost sharing.
  • Department and SRA monitors cost sharing via reporting.
  • At the expiration of the award, SRA verifies all cost sharing commitments have been met.  
  • If the cost share commitment has not been met, SRA works with the Department to return funds to the sponsor.

Please review the Cost Sharing Quick Guide or Detailed Guide for more information.